The Republican nominee for Wisconsin’s attorney general post said he would have defended an interracial marriage ban if he were attorney general in a state with such a law during the 1950s.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Wednesday that Wisconsin Democrats were blasting Waukesha County District Attorney Brad Schimel over comments he made last month on the cable access program “Eye On Oshkosh.”
Schimel was asked about interracial marriage bans in the context of his position on Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban, which he said he would defend in court. Here’s the exchange:
HOST: “But if you had been attorney general in, say, the 1950s, in a state that did not allow interracial marriage, do you think the proper role of an attorney general then was to not put himself or herself into the mix and say this is wrong?”
SCHIMEL: “Yeah, it is.”
HOST: “Your job is to uphold the law, even if it’s something that we might look back in the future and say that’s absurd?”
SCHIMEL: “It might be distasteful to me. I’ve got to stay consistent with that. As the state’s lawyer, it’s not my job to pick and choose.”
Schimel released a statement Wednesday that addressed those comments and pivoted to his Democratic opponent, Jefferson County District Attorney Susan Happ, and her stated opposition to Wisconsin’s gay marriage ban.
“Love and the law are colorblind, as they should be,” he said, as quoted by the Journal-Sentinel. “Many shameful, racist laws were changed over the course of time in this country by legislators, the courts and the people’s direct votes. But if Susan Happ wants to make up new laws, or change old ones, she’s running for the wrong job.”
The Supreme Court refused to review the seven same-sex marriage cases before it on Monday, allowing gay couples to marry without delay in Wisconsin.